I have two shows coming up this spring/summer. My solo show opens in June at the Gunnison Gallery. I will also be showing in June with Debbie Watkins, fiber artist and Lynn Vogle, fiber/metal artist at Backstreet in Montrose. New works for these shows will feature my flower/garden paintings, watercolor works developed from my sketches and photos from Mexico this past winter, and of course more horse paintings.
This series of photos shows my process; how I create from initial studies/ ink drawing to final watercolor painting.
Pátzcuaro is known for it red-banded buildings and red tile roofs. Coming back from Tzintzuntzán, the taxi driver took us along a route with steep streets that paralleled the House of Eleven Patios. Built into the hillside, this side of the city gives the best views of Pátzcuaro’s picturesque, unique character. We knew this would be our destination for sketching the following day.
To get there, walk southeast of the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga to an entrance with two high arches. The entrance is marked, “La Casa de los Once Patios.” Built around 1743 for the Convent of Santa Catarina, this is the only place regionally with Dominican influence. The Dominicans founded Santa Marta Hospital here.
The House of Eleven Patios features the highest quality craft artisans in the region. Many also work onsite. The range of local crafts is broad from musical instruments, textiles, copper, and ceramics. The shops rise eleven levels up the hillside. The alleyway continues to climb to the top of a steep slope, where Mexican families and tourists come to enjoy the vista and take photos. Both Kurt and I were inspired by the view and captured our impressions.
Tzintzuntzán: musical, magical name for the former Tarascan capital on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro. Tzintzuntzán means “place of the hummingbirds.”
Outside the biblioteca in Pátzcuaro, we boarded the colectivo to Tzintzuntzán, which takes passengers to villages around the Lake. We were able to use our broken Spanish to visit with a mother and her charming daughter along the way, who gave us the lowdown on the archeological ruins.
Before the Spanish conquest, the village of Tzintzuntzán was the capital city of Tarasca, on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro, with a population of 30,000. Tarasca was strong, able to repell repeated Aztec attacks. In 1520, the Tarascans could not fend off the Spanish. Today Tzintzuntzán is a sleepy village that boasts an important archeological site. Called Taríaran, “House of the Wind,” it is located above the town on a large platform excavated into the side of the hill, overlooking the lake. The ceremonial center contains a large plaza, several buildings which housed priests and nobility, and five yácatas. These semi-circular pyramids were wooden temples where important rites were performed. As I sketched, I noticed architectural slits in the stonework, much like at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, which make the whole site function as a large stone astronomical calendar.
In my sketch, I included a bit of the village landscape, the lake, and the volcano, all important elements in the history of Taríaran.
“Dia de Marcado Viernes; 2:00 2/3/2017 Patzcuaro, Michoacán”
In the Plaza Gertrudis Boca Negra, just a few doors from our hotel, every day is Market Day. On the day of this drawing, it was the official Market Day. Capturing all the activity: color, sounds, smells, hustle & bustle……was a challenge. It was particularly so because the people were very friendly and curious. Usually people left us alone as we drew, but here the people liked to look over our shoulders and ask us about our drawings. Having so much attention, in addition to expressing the mood/atmosphere of the square was a bit daunting. When I could finally immerse myself into the scene and my drawing, I was able to record my experience.
From Ajijíc, we traveled with friends to the state of Michoacán. Our first stop was to El Rosario Sanctuario de las Mariposas Monarca. The experience of seeing thousands of Monarch butterflies was magical- un milagro! (My beloved horse was born in Florida in a field of Monarch butterflies; hence he was named Monarch. To watch a small clip of the Monarchs at Rosario, visit my Instagram account- see link to the right.)
After visiting the Monarchs, our next destination was Pátzcuaro, the picturesque city of red tiled roofs and blocks of red-banded adobe buildings. Pàtzcuaro was founded in the 1320s as the capital seat of the Tarascan state, which included Michoacán, Jalisco, and Guanajuato, rivaling the Aztecs in power and influence. Even today, native peoples retain their colorful dress, food, and traditions.